Since we’re having a “Welcome to Kindergarten Bag Day” event on April 13th this month, here are some titles that are good for readers who are just starting out. These books all use simple language with repeated words and sounds to help children build up their reading skills.
Hans Wilhelm’s Noodles the Puppy series are very good for beginning readers. These little stories feature Noodles, a fluffy white puppy, and his friends. Ook’s favourite is I am Brave, in which Noodles finds himself outside during a thunderstorm.
My Big Brother by Lorraine Adams is part of a new series of easy readers from Eaglecrest Books. This one is for children just beginning to recognize words. It has lots of simple repetition with variation to introduce new words. The setting is a First Nations community, and in a nice contrast to the trend of using cartoony illustrations in nearly everything published for young children these days, the illustrations are very good photographs, which provide clues as to the activity being introduced to help the reader decipher new words: “I like to read with my big brother … I like to climb trees with my big brother.”
Today I Will Fly, by Mo Willems, is another one in Ook’s favourite contemporary beginning reader series, the Elephant and Piggie books. In this one, Piggie is determined to fly – and we all know that pigs can’t fly. Her various attempts will have small children giggling. Willems uses careful repetition of phrases, introducing new variations as the story goes on, and his simple yet subtle illustrations, which convey so much emotion through the facial expressions of Gerald the Elephant and Piggie, make the Elephant and Piggie books enduring favourites with children just starting to be able to read on their own.